Today's Lectionary Text
You shall not deprive a resident alien or an orphan of justice; you shall not take a widow’s garment in pledge. Remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this.
When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be left for the alien, the orphan, and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all your undertakings. When you beat your olive trees, do not strip what is left; it shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow.
When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, do not glean what is left; it shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I am commanding you to do this.
I remember as a child as our family would be traveling to various places seeing farms harvested. I never understood why the corners of the harvest were left. Why would a farmer leave precious goods, goods that would be sold at market for money? My first appointment following seminary was in a very small farming community. Again, I would see the corners of the harvest left standing. One day I finally asked L.E.,a local farmer in Nashville, Georgia, about why he left the corners unharvested. His reply was “so those who are poor can get some food”.
One of the characteristics that I admire about John Wesley was that he truly cared for the poor. The marginalized of his society were utterly dependent on God’s grace and provision. It was important that the marginalized not only receive what they needed for sustainable life, yet also they were taught how to make that life better for themselves. Dependency doesn’t grow a life into sustainability. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Give a person a fish, feed them for a day. Teach them how to fish, feed them for a lifetime”. That is very true! Skills and ways of sustainability must be taught. Yet, we must start at the beginning, and that is giving a person the corner of the harvest.
I was in Northwest Nebraska in late October and saw lots of farm land.
What I noticed was, there were no corners of the harvest left standing........
-Rev. Hollie Tapley
Disaster Response & Resource Center Coordinator
Prayer for Reflection
Sustaining God, may we remember all who need a corner of the harvest field. May we share out of our abundance and teach skills for sustainability. Amen.
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